National news reports about the 1989 racially motivated Brooklyn murder of an African American teenager by a group of young white men, one of whom was his cousin, inspired Nicholas Montemarano to write about the incident in his first book, “A Fine Place: A Novel.”
The Franklin & Marshall English professor, and recipient of this year’s Bradly R. Dewey Award for Outstanding Scholarship, read an excerpt from his 2002 book at the Nov. 7 audience in Mayser Gym: “Someone held a bat. Someone said listen, and the others found bats and got into several cars. Some were angry and others made themselves angry.”
Montemarano has written five novels, among them, “The Senator’s Children,” based on the political scandal that ended 2008 presidential candidate John Edwards’ political career and marriage. Esquire, The Southern Review and other periodicals have published his short stories.
Inspiration for his fiction writing, which tends to dwell in realities of darkness and redemption, comes from a desire to understand the truth about a subject that he culled from the media.
“My tendency [is] to take actual truth and re-create it as story truth,” Montemarano said. “I seem to be drawn to actual people and events that also have a public life; stories I’m drawn to, or have a connection with. [I] try to understand them in all their depth of complexity; to understand them in a way that goes beyond journalism, and allows me to discover a deeper, more significant reason.”
Common Hour is a community discussion conducted each Thursday classes are in session.